Forgotten Limb of Yoga
By David Frawley, from Yoga and Ayurveda

"Pratyahaar is the control of the mind through withdrawal of the senses.
The joy in your life, which you really want to enjoy, is within you. There
is nothing more precise than You within you. The day you find the You
within you, your mind will be yours. In pratyahaar we bring everything to
zero (shunia), as pranayam brings everything to Infinity." -- Yogi Bhajan

"Pratyahara itself is termed as Yoga, as it is the most
important limb in Yoga Sadhana." -- Swami Shivananda

Sat Nam. Yoga is a vast system of spiritual practices for inner growth. To this end, the classical yoga system incorporates eight limbs, each with its own place and function. Of these, pratyahara is probably the least known. How many people, even yoga teachers, can define pratyahara? Have you ever taken a class in pratyahara? Have you ever seen a book on pratyahara? Can you think of several important pratyahara techniques? Do you perform pratyahara as part of your yogic practices? Yet unless we understand pratyahara, we are missing an integral aspect of yoga without which the system cannot work.

As the fifth of the eight limbs, pratyahara occupies a central place. Some yogis include it among the outer aspects of yoga, others with the inner aspects. Both classifications are correct, for pratyahara is the key between the outer and inner aspects of yoga; it shows us how to move from one to the other.

It is not possible to move directly from asana to meditation. This requires jumping from the body to the mind, forgetting what lies between. To make this transition, the breath and senses, which link the body and mind, must be brought under control and developed properly. This is where pranayama and pratyahara come in. With pranayama we control our vital energies and impulses and with pratyahara we gain mastery over the unruly senses -- both prerequisites to successful meditation.

What is Pratyahara?

The term pratyahara is composed of two Sanskrit words, prati and ahara. Ahara means "food," or "anything we take into ourselves from the outside." Prati is a preposition meaning "against" or "away." Pratyahara means literally "control of ahara," or "gaining mastery over external influences." It is compared to a turtle withdrawing its limbs into its shell -- the turtle’s shell is the mind and the senses are the limbs. The term is usually translated as "contraction or withdrawal from the senses," but much more is implied.

In yogic thought there are three levels of ahara, or food. First is physical food that brings in the five elements necessary to nourish the body. Second is impressions, which bring in the subtle substances necessary to nourish the mind -- the sensations of sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell. Third level of ahara is our associations, the people we hold at heart level who serve to nourish the soul and affect us with the gunas of sattva, rajas, and tamas.

Pratyahara is twofold. It involves withdrawal from wrong food, wrong impressions and wrong associations, while simultaneously opening up to right food, right impressions and right associations. We cannot control our mental impressions without right diet and right relationship, but pratyahara’s primary importance lies in control of sensory impressions which frees the mind to move within.

By withdrawing our awareness from negative impressions, pratyahara strengthens the mind’s powers of immunity. Just as a healthy body can resists toxins and pathogens, a healthy mind can ward off the negative sensory influences around it. If you are easily disturbed by the noise and turmoil of the environment around you, practice pratyahara. Without it, you will not be able to meditate.

There are four main forms of pratyahara: indriya-pratyahara -- control of the senses; prana- pratyahara -- control of prana; karma-pratyahara -- control of action; and mano-pratyahara -- withdrawal of mind from the senses. Each has its special methods.

1. Control of the Senses (Indriya-pratyahara)

Indriya-pratyahara, or control of the senses, is the most important form of pratyahara, although this is not something that we like to hear about in our mass media-oriented culture. Most of us suffer from sensory overload, the result of constant bombardment from television, radio, computers, newspapers, magazines, books -- you name it. Our commercial society functions by stimulating our interest through the senses. We are constantly confronted with bright colors, loud noises and dramatic sensations. We have been raised on every sort of sensory indulgence; it is the main form of entertainment in our society.

The problem is that the senses, like untrained children, have their own will, which is largely instinctual in nature. They tell the mind what to do. If we don’t discipline them, they dominate us with their endless demands. We are so accustomed to ongoing sensory activity that we don’t know how to keep our minds quiet; we have become hostages of the world of the senses and its allurements. We run after what is appealing to the senses and forget the higher goals of life. For this reason, pratyahara is probably the most important limb of yoga for people today. The old saying "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" applies to those of us who have not learned how to properly control our senses. Indriya-pratyahara gives us the tools to strengthen the spirit and reduce its dependency on the body. Such control is not suppression (which causes eventual revolt), but proper coordination and motivation.

Right Intake of Impressions

Pratyahara centers on the right intake of impressions. Most of us are careful about the food we eat and the company we keep, but we may not exercise the same discrimination about the impressions we take in from the senses. We accept impressions via the mass media that we would never allow in our personal lives. We let people into our houses through television and movies that we would never allow into our homes in real life! What kind of impressions do we take in every day? Can we expect that they will not have an effect on us? Strong sensations dull the mind, and a dull mind makes us act in ways that are insensitive, careless, or even violent.

According to Ayurveda, sensory impressions are the main food for the mind. The background of our mental field consists of our predominant sensory impressions. We see this when our mind reverts to the impressions of the last song we heard or the last movie we saw. Just as junk food makes the body toxic, junk impressions make the mind toxic. Junk food requires a lot of salt, sugar, or spices to make it palatable because it is largely dead food; similarly junk impressions require powerful dramatic impressions -- sex and violence -- to make us feel that they are real, because they are actually just colors projected on a screen.

We cannot ignore the role sensory impressions play in making us who we are, for they build up the subconscious and strengthen the tendencie latent within it. Trying to meditate without controlling our impressions pits our subconscious against us and prevents the development of inner peace and clarity.

Sensory Withdrawal

Fortunately we are not helpless before the barrage of sensory impressions. Pratyahara provides us many tools for managing them properly. Perhaps the simplest way to control our impressions is simply to cut them off, to spend some time apart from all sensory inputs. Just as the body benefits by fasting from food, so the mind benefits by fasting from impressions. This can be as simple as sitting to meditate with our eyes closed or taking a retreat somewhere free from the normal sensory bombardments, like at a mountain cabin. Also a "media fast," abstaining from television, radio, etc. can be a good practice to cleanse and rejuvenate the mind.

Yoni Mudra

Yoni mudra is one of the most important pratyahara techniques for closing the senses. It involves using the fingers to block the sensory openings in the head -- the eyes, ears, nostrils, and mouth -- and allowing the attention and energy to move within. It is done for short periods of time when our prana is energized, such as immediately after practicing pranayama. (Naturally we should avoid closing the mouth and nose to the point at which we starve ourselves of oxygen.)

Another method of sense withdrawal is to keep our sense organs open but withdraw our attention from them. In this way we cease taking in impressions without actually closing off our sense organs. The most common method, shambhavi mudra, consists of sitting with the eyes open while directing the attention within, a technique used in several Buddhist systems of meditation as well. This redirection of the senses inward can be done with the other senses as well, particularly with the sense of hearing. It helps us control our mind even when the senses are functioning, as they are during the normal course of the day.

Shambhavi Mudra
Place hands on knees, eyes closed

Focusing on Uniform Impressions

Another way to cleanse the mind and control the senses is to put our attention on a source of uniform impressions, such as gazing at the ocean or the blue sky. Just as the digestive system gets short-circuited by irregular eating habits and contrary food qualities, our ability to digest impressions can be deranged by jarring or excessive impressions. And just as improving our digestion may require going on a mono-diet, like the ayurvedic use of rice and mung beans (kicharee), so our mental digestion may require a diet of natural but homogeneous impressions. This technique is often helpful after a period of fasting from impressions.

Creating Positive Impressions

Another means of controlling the senses is to create positive, natural impressions. There are a number of ways to do this: meditating upon aspects of nature such as trees, flowers, or rocks, as well as visiting temples or other places of pilgrimage which are repositories of positive impressions and thoughts. Positive impressions can also be created by using incense, flowers, ghee lamps, altars, statues, and other artifacts of devotional worship. See the Isolated Seer.

Creating Inner Impressions

Another sensory withdrawal technique is to focus the mind on inner impressions, thus removing attention from external impressions. We can create our own inner impressions through the imagination or we can contact the subtle senses that come into play when the physical senses are quiet.

Visualization is the simplest means of creating inner impressions. In fact, most yogic meditation practices begin with some type of visualization, such as "seeing" a deity, a guru, or a beautiful setting in nature. More elaborate visualizations involve imagining deities and their worlds, or mentally performing rituals, such as offering imaginary flowers or gems to imagined deities. The artist absorbed in an inner landscape or the musician creating music are also performing inner visualizations. These are all forms of pratyahara because they clear the mental field of external impressions and create a positive inner impression to serve as the foundation of meditation. Preliminary visualizations are helpful for most forms of meditation and can be integrated into other spiritual practices as well. See Naad Yoga. See WordPhysiology.com.

Laya Yoga is the yoga of the inner sound and light current, in which we focus on subtle senses to withdraw us from the gross senses. This withdrawal into inner sound and light is a means of transforming the mind and is another form of indriya-pratyahara.

2. Control of the Prana (Prana-Pratyahara)

Control of the senses requires the development and control of prana because the senses follow prana (our vital energy). Unless our prana is strong we will not have the power to control the senses. If our prana is scattered or disturbed, our senses will also be scattered and disturbed. Pranayama is a preparation for pratyahara. Prana is gathered in pranayama and withdrawn in pratyahara. Yogic texts describe methods of withdrawing prana from different parts of the body, starting with the toes and ending wherever we wish to fix our attention -- the top of the head, the third eye, the heart or one of the other chakras.

Perhaps the best method of prana-pratyahara is to visualize the death process, in which the prana, or the life-force, withdraws from the body, shutting off all the senses from the feet to the head. Ramana Maharshi achieved Self-realization by doing this when he was a mere boy of seventeen. Before inquiring into the Self, he visualized his body as dead, withdrawing his prana into the mind and the mind into the heart. Without such complete and intense pratyahara, his meditative process
would not have been successful.

3. Control of Action (Karma-Pratyahara)

We cannot control the sense organs without also controlling the motor organs. In fact the motor organs involve us directly in the external world. The impulses coming in through the senses get expressed through the motor organs and this drives us to further sensory involvement. Because desire is endless, happiness consists not in getting what we want, but in no longer needing anything from the external world. Just as the right intake of impressions gives control of the sense organs, right work and right action gives control of the motor organs. This involves karma yoga -- performing selfless service and making our life a sacred ritual. Karma-pratyahara can be performed by surrendering any thought of personal rewards for what we do, doing everything as service to God or to humanity. The Bhagavad Gita says, "Your duty is to act, not to seek a reward for what you do." This is one kind of pratyahara. It also includes the practice of austerities that lead to control of the motor organs. For example, asana can be used to control the hands and feet, control which is needed when we sit quietly for extended periods of time.

4. Withdrawal of the Mind (Mano-Pratyahara)

The yogis tell us that mind is the sixth sense organ and that it is responsible for coordinating all the other sense organs. We take in sensory impressions only where we place our mind’s attention. In a way we are always practicing pratyahara. The mind’s attention is limited and we give attention to one sensory impression by withdrawing the mind from other impressions. Wherever we place our attention, we naturally overlook other things.

We control our senses by withdrawing our mind’s attention from them.
According to the Yoga Sutras II.54: "When the senses do not conform with their own objects but imitate the nature of the mind, that is pratyahara." More specifically, it is mano-pratyahara -- withdrawing the senses from their objects and directing them inward to the nature of the mind, which is formless. Vyasa’s commentary on the Yoga Sutra notes that the mind is like the queen bee and the senses are the worker bees. Wherever the queen bee goes, all the other bees must follow. Thus mano-pratyahara is less about controlling the senses than about controlling the mind, for when the mind is controlled, the senses are automatically controlled.

The Five Sutras
As taught by Yogi Bhajan

We can practice mano-pratyahara by consciously withdrawing our attention from unwholesome impressions whenever they arise. This is the highest form of pratyahara and the most difficult; if we have not gained proficiency in controlling the senses, motor organs, and pranas, it is unlikely to work. Like wild animals, prana and the senses can easily overcome a weak mind, so it is usually better to start first with more practical methods of pratyahara.

Pratyahara and the Other Limbs of Yoga

Pratyahara is related to all the limbs of yoga. All of the other limbs -- from asana to samadhi -- contain aspects of pratyahara. For example, in the sitting poses, which are the most important aspect of asana, both the sensory and motor organs are controlled. Pranayama contains an element of pratyahara as we draw our attention inward through the breath. Yama and niyama contain various principles and practices, like non-violence and contentment, that help us control the senses. In other words, pratyahara provides the foundation for the higher practices of yoga and is the basis for meditation. It follows pranayama (or control of prana) and, by linking prana with the mind, takes it out of the sphere of the body.

Pratyahara is also linked with dharana. In pratyahara we withdraw our attention from ordinary distractions. In dharana we consciously focus that attention on a particular object, such as a mantra. Pratyahara is the negative and dharana the positive aspect of the same basic function. Many of us find that even after years of meditation practice we have not achieved all that we expected. Trying to practice meditation without some degree of pratyahara is like trying to gather water in a leaky vessel. No matter how much water we bring in, it flows out at the same rate. The senses are like holes in the vessel of the mind. Unless they are sealed, the mind cannot hold the nectar of truth. Anyone whose periods of meditation alternate with periods of sensory indulgence is in need of pratyahara.

Pratyahara offers many methods of preparing the mind for meditation. It also helps us avoid environmental disturbances that are the source of psychological pain. Pratyahara is a marvelous tool for taking control of our lives and opening up to our inner being. It is no wonder some great yogis have called it "the most important limb of yoga." We should all remember to include it in our practice.

Pratyahara and Ayurveda

Pratyahara, as right management of the mind and senses, is essential and good for all constitutional types. It is the most important factor for mental nutrition. However, it is most essential for those with a vata constitution who tend towards imbalanced or excessive sensory and mental

Vata types should practice some form of pratyahara daily. Their restless vata distracts the senses, disturbs the motor organs and prana, and makes the mind restless. Pratyahara reverse harmful vata and turns it into a positive force of prana.

Kapha types, on the other hand, generally suffer from too little activity, including on a sensory level. They may slip into tamasic patterns of being lazy, watching television or sitting around the house. They need more mental stimulation and benefit from sensory activity of a higher nature, like visualizations of various types.

Pitta types generally have more control of the senses than the others and incline toward martial-type activities in which they discipline the body and the senses. They need to practice pratyahara as a means of relaxing the personal will and letting the divine will work through

Pratyahara and Disease

Ayurveda recognizes that the inappropriate use of the senses is one of the main causes of disease. All mental disease is connected with the intake of unwholesome impressions. Pratyahara therefore is an important first step in treating all mental disorders. Similarly it is very helpful in treating nervous system disorders, particularly those that arise through hyperactivity. Most of the time we overly express our emotions, which loses tremendous energy. Pratyahara teaches us to hold our energy within and not disperse it unnecessarily. This conserved energy can be drawn upon for creative, spiritual or healing purposes as needed and can provide the extra power to do the things that are really important to us.

Physical disease mainly arises from taking in unwholesome food. Pratyahara affords us control of the senses so that we do not crave wrong food. When the senses are controlled, everything is controlled and no wrong or artificial cravings can arise. That is why Ayurveda emphasizes right use of the senses as one of the most important factors in right living and disease prevention. --


Kundalini Yoga By Yogi Bhajan

Yogi Bhajan

"Many, many thousands of years ago, the sages sat down and divided the science of yoga into eight different aspects. I would like to talk to you about one part. It is called pratyahar. Pratyahar is a secret science to reach God. You won't find it discussed fully in any books. All they say is, Pratyahar means "to contract." Contract what? They don't explain it...

The most beautiful art of yoga and the most pure science of yoga is pratyahar. Pratyahar means, correctly in English, contract or synchronize.

I will give you an example. Some of my students today sent me a birthday present. I should feel very grateful that the present has come, and they wanted me to participate by thanking them. But when I saw it, I couldn't immediately thank them. Since at that time, I had been analyzing just what pratyahar is. It is a habit to synchronize towards God. So, immediately out of my mouth came. "Blessed is Lord God, who has given them the heart."

I could have said, "Thank you, they are beautiful." But nothing like that happened, and I started wondering why I could not say that. A gift is a source of happiness. But who provides the gift and who is the ultimate provider of the gift? If the consciousness does not synchronize immediately and focus on that point, you are not a yogi...

Pratyahar is also called the Science of Dedicated Devotion.

It is not a simple devotion. Simple devotion is, "Thank you, God." That's simple devotion. But it is also a dedication because when anything comes, you say, "Thank you, God for making me thank You." It is of a very high caliber. It is a very simple process for getting away from sensuality and sexuality when they bring you to Earth. Thank God for the Earth, and then God won't let you go down the tube. It is the power of the Word of God that you are not limited. The moment you are unlimited, you cannot fall apart.

You will only fall apart because of ego. You can't fall apart because of God. Ego confines you to limits, and your spirit then gets inflated. When your spirit gets inflated in Infinity, because you are in mental Infinite, then you are divine. But when your spirit gets inflated when you are confined, then you are like a balloon...

To practice pratyahar means one must synchronize, analyze, and totally shell out everything, and realize the praise of God out of everything..." -- Yogi Bhajan


“It is the job of a spiritual teacher to
poke, provoke, confront and elevate."

"May I tell you something? There is only one
thing you should know. Conquer yourself."

"The more Prana (breath of life) the body
consumes, the more wealth comes.
It's a simple law: inhale the entire Prana,
and push out all the weakness and disease."

“When the breath of life becomes short, you
become short-tempered. When the breath of life
becomes long and deep, you understand who you are."

"Yoga is the science to unite the finite with Infinity,
and it is the art to experience Infinity in the finite.
So all those who practice Kundalini Yoga don’t have to
create different definitions. This is it, straight and simple."

"No matter how good the diet is, we tend to exceed the
self cleaning capacity of our bodies. Uric acid, (a byproduct of
meat consumption), calcium crystals, and many other wastes
and poisons get stored in tissues and joints. They make us stiff and
may cause many diseases. In Kundalini Yoga, muscle stretching
along with internal massage brings waste back into circulation so
that the lungs, intestines, kidneys and skin are able to remove it."

"When your breath is eight times a minute you are near God.
When it is four times a minute you are the perfect image of God.
When you breathe one breath per one minute you are the living God."

"If you do not breathe consciously for 11 minutes a day, you lose 40%
of the vitality of life. This 40% you cannot recapture by any medicine
or any exercise. But if you do breathe consciously for 11 minutes
and make it very long, deep and slow, that can do exactly what no
miracle can do, because your life is based on the breath of life."

"Your thinking pattern is based on what you normally speak.
If you speak the word of God, your thinking patterns will
become divine. The nerves create the patterns of the
brain function by the movements of the tongue."

"The most precious thing in the human body is the breath.
A meditation which cannot bring normalcy and equilibrium to your
breathing is useless, because the rate and length of the breathing will
determine the rate of secretion of your glandular system, and that secretion
will give you physical stability. Physical stability will then give you mental
stability, and mental stability will project the radiance of the spirit, the soul in
you. And when the spirit becomes radiant and healthy, you will look spiritual."

"The two most important things in your body are the upper palate, which
is the base of the hypothalamus, because the hypothalamus controls
the entire nervous system, and the tip of the tongue, which affects the
central nerve channel, shushumna. That controls your entire psyche."

"Discipline should never be rigid. Discipline should be
self-acknowledging, so that you can go along with it."

"You must know reality by intuition, not by knowledge."
Life According To Yogi Bhajan.com


Consciousness is eventually lost when
you stop breathing, so what happens to your
consciousness when you expand your breathing?

"When the breath is shallow, all problems come in.
All caffeine, nicotine, all these drugs are the problem
of the shallow breath. All those who crave sugar
and sweets are shallow breathers." -- Yogi Bhajan

"Left nostril breathing gives you self-endurance, self
effectiveness and self respect. Right nostril breathing
gives you projection, sacrifice, power to attach, power
to penetrate and power to exert. That is why God
has given you both nostrils." -- Yogi Bhajan

"In my experience as a teacher of Kundalini Yoga,
I have observed many people, young and old, with
poor breathing habits. The practice of Kundalini
(inclusive of the Breath of Fire, Long Deep
Breathing, Stretching, Internal Massage, etc.), and
other aerobic exercising, can provide additional
and much needed oxygen for oxygen starved
cells, especially in the brain." -- Hari Singh Bird


This is a commonly used breath done in Kundalini Yoga. It is done by pumping the navel point in and out while breathing rapidly through the nose. On the exhale, the navel is pulled in. At first it is easier to focus on the exhale and start at a slow rhythm. Eventually you want to have a rapid, equal and consistant breath. This breath strengthens the nervous system, purifies the blood and energizes the body. See video.


The Bandhas -- gateways to developing core strength, sensitivity, and subtlety - are fundamental to Kundalini Yoga.

The Bandhas, or locks, are fundamental to Kundalini Yoga. Learning and developing the skill and internal awareness necessary for the practice of the three body locks bring both depth and effectiveness to yoga practice. The locks, specific contractions of core areas of the body, are indicated in many Kundalini Yoga meditations and kriyas (sequenced yoga exercise sets). Applying the body locks properly will help you clear blockages that impede the open flow of energy through your physical body, Chakras, and subtle bodies. With a steady flow of energy, you can bring harmony and balance to your life, you can have access to your core values, and you can express yourself with integrity. Applying the body locks heightens your awareness. See video.

Mool Bandh

This frequently used practice closes off the lower 3 chakras and allows the kundalini energy to rise. You do this by contracting the muscles of the rectum, the sex organs and the navel point - pulling in and up on the navel. See video.

Jalandhar Bandh

The neck lock, Jalandhar Bandh, is a basic lock applied throughout Kundalini Yoga exercises unless you are moving the head, as in neck rolls, or are otherwise instructed. Apply the neck lock during most pranayam, breath control, practices and meditations, and while chanting. See video.

To apply the neck lock:

Sit comfortably with a straight spine.

Lift your chest and sternum upward.

Stretch the back of your neck gently straight by pulling the chin in toward the back of the neck.

Keep your head level and centered without tilting forward or to either side.

Keep the muscles of your face, neck, and throat as relaxed as you can.

The neck lock is automatically applied by the shift of relative position between the chin and chest. Do not force your head forward or down. It is common for new yoga students to stretch the neck when other parts of the body are not flexible. When you apply the neck lock, you allow your neck to be open and maintain its natural structure, which helps you maintain better spinal posture in general. The neck lock also "seals" the energy that is generated in the upper areas of your brain stem, so it becomes easier to focus and meditate.

The Knot of Shiva -- Jalandhar Bhand, applied consciously and correctly, is said to help "untie the knot of Shiva." This "knot" or gateway is located at your brow point. When the energy of this knot is untied and flowing, you feel free of time and space. You associate yourself with the timelessness and non-duality of the soul and the Divine essence.

Uddiyana Bandh

Your diaphragm muscle forms both a physical and energetic barrier between your heart and your lower torso. Below this barrier are your lower Chakras, the ones that relate to behaviors that are more unconscious or reactive. Above this barrier are your upper Chakras, the ones that relate to behaviors that are more conscious and awareaware. See video.

To apply the diaphragm lock:

Be sure you do not have a full stomach.

Apply this lock only with your breath fully exhaled - holding your breath out.

Sit comfortably with a straight spine.

Inhale deeply and exhale completely through the nose. Hold the breath out.

Pull your entire abdominal region, especially the area above your belly button, back toward your spine.

Keep your chest lifted and do not allow your chest to collapse downward.

Press the lower thoracic spine forward gently.

Keep the lift strongly applied for 10-60 seconds, according to your ability, without strain, and maintain a concentrated sense of calm.

Release the lock by relaxing your abdomen and gradually inhaling.

The diaphragm lock, Uddiyana Bandh, helps to strengthen your digestion by increasing the fire element, the element of transformation in your abdominal region. This helps your heart center - your Heart Chakra - to open and flow with energy. When your Heart Chakra is open, you have the ability to be sensitive, compassionate, and kind.

Heart Chakra

The Knot of Vishnu -- When you apply Uddiyana Bandh correctly and consciously, it is said to "untie the knot of Vishnu," The knot of Vishnu is located at the Heart Chakra, the area of your rib cage, heart, lungs and thymus gland. When the energy is no longer knotted at this center, but is flowing and open, it is said you can feel the playfulness of your life, and the larger cosmic plan with perspective and relaxation.

Kundalini Yoga Basics Videos


Guru Prem Singh demonstrates the Mool Bandh
Root Lock as taught by Yogi Bhajan

Guru Prem Singh demonstrates the Uddiyana Bandh
Navel Lock as taught by Yogi Bhajan

Guru Prem Singh demonstrates the Jalandar Bandh
Neck Lock as taught by Yogi Bhajan


Guru Prem Singh demonstrates the Breath of Fire
Pranayama as taught by Yogi Bhajan


Guru Prem Singh demonstrates the Spinal Flex
as taught by Yogi Bhajan

*NOTE: Pranayam or pranayama, is a Sanskrit word meaning "restraint of the prana or breath". The word is composed of two Sanskrit words, "Prana", life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath, and "ayama", to suspend or restrain. It is often translated as control of the life force (prana). When used as a technical term in yoga, it is often translated more specifically as "breath control". --

To Cut Through All Darkness
(So Darshan Chakra Kriya)

Mudra: Sitting with a straight spine:

a. Block off the right nostril with the right thumb. Inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril. Hold the breath. Mentally chant, “Wha Hay Guroo” 16 times. Pump the navel point 3 times with each repetition, once on “Wha,” once on “Hay” and once on “Guroo” for a total of 48 unbroken pumps.

b. Unblock the right nostril. Place the right index finger (pinkie can also be used) to block off the left nostril, and exhale slowly and deeply through the right nostril.

c. Continue.

Eyes: Gaze at the tip of the nose. (Note: So Darshan Chakra Kriya is NOT to be done with the eyes closed.)

End: Inhale, hold 5-10 seconds, and exhale. Then stretch and shake every part of your body for about 1 minute so that the energy can spread.

Time Constraints: No time, no place, no space, no condition is attached to this mantra. Each garbage pit has its own time to clear. If you are going to clean up your own garbage, you must estimate and clean it as fast as you can, or as slow as you want. You have to decide how much time you have to clean up your garbage pit, but start practicing slowly - the slower the better. Start with five minutes a day, and gradually build the time to either 31 or 62 minutes. Maximum time is 2 1/2 hours for practice of this meditation.


To Develop Your Hidden Greatness

Part One

Mudra: Sit straight. Left hand comes under the chin palm down, forearm parallel to the ground; the right hand comes to meet the middle finger of the left hand at the center of the palm, fingers pointing up to the sky (hands make a T). Hands are long and straight, fingers together. You are bifurcating the angles.

Eyes: Gaze at the tip of the nose.*

Breath: Long Deep Breath; breathe from the lower area of the belly; breathe out through a round mouth. Yogiji demonstrates a very long inhalation, from the lower belly to the collar bones. You expand with the breath about an inch and a half. Continue for 20 minutes. This is the most sacred exercise in Kundalini Yoga and gives people the entire Universe.

*When your two eyes concentrate on the tip of the nose, the mind stops flirting around. Yogi Bhajan

Part Two

Switch hands. Right hand comes under the chin palm down, forearm parallel to the ground; the left hand comes to meet the middle finger of the right hand at the center of the palm, fingers pointing up to the sky (makes a T). Hands are long and straight, fingers together.

Eyes: Tip of the nose.

Mantra: Sing with Har Singh Nar Singh by Nirinjan Kaur. Time: 5 minutes.

Part Three

Mudra: Bring the thumbs just above the eyebrows at either side of the Third Eye Point. Press the thumbs into the brow and allow the hands to be in Prayer Pose.

Prayer Pose

Eyes: Tip of the nose.

Mantra: Sing with Ong Namo by Nirinjan Kaur. Continue for 1-1/2 minutes. Whistle with the breath. Continue for 1-1/2 minutes.

Keeping the mudra, begin Long Deep Breathing and exhale through the rounded mouth, as in Part One. Continue for 3 minutes.

Arms at 60 degrees, hands open and palms facing the sky. Begin Breath of Fire. Use the strength of the navel. Continue for 30 seconds.

Inhale deep and put both hands in the lap, right hand resting in the left. Relax the breath. Become thoughtless. No thought. "I forgive my thoughts; I forgive the Universe; I forgive my friends." Forgiveness should override everything. Whatever is bothering you, whatever you ate, whatever you don't like, right now just feel an angel is before you and you are willing to go with him and merge in infinity. Are you afraid? Just drop the fear and proceed. All negativity, all negative thoughts must go thoughtless. I am pure; I am divine; I am human: I am a creature of god. My faculties are divine. Continue for 2 minutes.

To End: Inhale deep. Squeeze. Exhale Cannon Breath (powerful breath through open mouth). Do this 3 times. Squeeze everything, ears, eyes, everything.

Taught by Yogi Bhajan on May 14, 1997

2013 Meditation

Beginning in 2008, we entered a 5-year sequence, featuring the tattvas so that we could balance them as we entered the Aquarian Age together. This year we are exploring the Fire Tattva. The Fire Kriya shown below creates tapa (internal “heat”) which purifies so that your energy is clear, your body fit, and your eyes bright. In the spring of 1978, Yogi Bhajan said that the Fire Kriya, “is a powerful, absolutely sacred, secret meditation. It will take you as far as you take it.”

Posture: Sit straight in a meditative posture with neck lock.

Eye Focus: Eyes are closed except for small slit to let in some light (99% closed).

Mudra: Reverse Finger Lock—interlace the fingers so that both the fingers and the palms point toward the chest. Keep the fingers as straight as you can; bring the fingers together so that the pads of the fingers are touching. Right index finger on top; left little finger on bottom, the thumb tips touch lightly. The mudra is held with the elbows at natural shoulder level so that the fingers point toward the body, at the level of the throat, above the heart. The shoulders should feel relaxed as you keep the elbows, forearms and hands parallel to the ground.

Mantra: Inhale deeply and chant four times on the breath in a steady tone: Sat Naam Sat Naam Sat Naam Sat Naam Sat Naam Sat Naam Whaa-Hay Guroo. More Kriyas as taught by Yogi Bhajan. See 10 Reasons to Chant Mantras. --

Hari Singh Bird
"To serve is to succeed."

Hari Singh is an Optician, and he has a long history of teaching Kundalini Yoga and meditation at numerous facilities and locations, which include the Federal Prison in Littleton, CO; the Colorado State Prison at the Buena Vista facility; the Youth Detention Center, Brighton, CO; the Orange County Jail, Orlando, FL; the Florida State Prison, Bushnell, FL; the YWCA, Orlando, FL; and as a volunteer counselor and Sikh Chaplain at the New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, NM; as well as several years as the Drill Instructor for the Select Rifle Drill Team at the 3HO Women's Training Camp (formerly KWTC, Khalsa Women's Training Camp), Espanola, NM. See an inspiring account of one woman's 1978 Drill Team experience at the Khalsa Women's Training Camp.


"In my experience as a teacher of Kundalini Yoga,
I have observed many people, young and old, with
poor breathing habits. The practice of Kundalini
(inclusive of the Breath of Fire, Long Deep
Breathing, Stretching, Internal Massage, etc.), and
other aerobic exercising, can provide additional
and much needed oxygen for oxygen starved
cells, especially in the brain." -- Hari Singh Bird

"In each and every environment, good
health and sustained wellness is dependant on
the rapid removal of waste." -- The Inner Clean Diet

"The mere act of teaching implies that one
wishes the world well." --
Roger Rosenblatt


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Meditation For Women
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What Does Sat Nam Mean
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The Forgotten Limb of Yoga
The Kundalini Yoga Glossary
5 Sutras of The Aquarian Age
When You're Here, You're OM

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Life According To Yogi Bhajan
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What Happens When You Meditate
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Tools For Kundalini Yoga Teachers
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The Ashtang Mantra for the Aquarian Age

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  *Consultation with a health care professional should occur before applying adjustments or treatments to the body, consuming medications or nutritional supplements and before dieting, fasting or exercising. None of these activities are herein presented as substitutes for competent medical treatment.